Guest post by Kelli Osgood
To many people, wine is a magical thing. Some consider it a beverage, others a hobby, but to many, it’s art.How do we get the most out of our tasting experience? Whether drinking at home, out for a meal, or in a tasting room, there are four easy steps for the wine lover to remember to get the most out of the experience.
(Note – You may find that some recommend 5 “S’s” or that they may be in a slightly different order. Never fear. There is flexibility in the process.)
Why the swirl? Does it stir the wine? Maybe it just looks really educated and classy. Could moving the wine around in a glass really make a difference? Actually, yes. Swirling the wine infuses oxygen into the glass (just as an aerator would.) This allows the wine to breathe, which in turn slightly alters the bouquet and the flavors. If the bottle is young or has been opened recently, this can help to soften the wine. Also, it gives the consumer an idea of the density, type and quality of the grape as well as the age and condition of the wine, all revealed by the hues and colors in the glass.
Go ahead. Put your nose right into the bowl of the glass & inhale deeply. It may seem strange, but the aromas (aka the “nose” or “bouquet”) that we detect are directly linked to our taste buds. We can identify certain notes & hints to the flavors of the wine just by breathing in the scent. Smoke? Leather? Blackberries? Grassy notes? Yum. Beware of a wet cardboard smell however — this usually means there is trichloroanisole (TCA) present, and the wine is no good, or “corked”.
Ah yes, the fun part. Indulge. Take a small sip. Identify flavors, and take another sip again. See how the flavors are different the second time! If you are brave, take a bite of peppery pork, a bit of cheese, or a piece of chocolate and take another sip. Sometimes it is fun to identify the acidity, tannins, residual sugar and structure of the wine. Other times, it’s just fun to drink good wine.
Savor, or Spit, or Sniff again, or…?
Depending on the situation, you can do any of the above. Or add in your own S. Or start again at the beginning. Either way, wine is meant to be enjoyed and consumed, so please, drink responsibly and enjoy the process!